Planning on a new roof and got first estimate yesterday--another one
expected early afternoon today. Would like some comments on two of the items
in the estimate.
1. Down payment: 50% deposit to start and final payment upon completion
2. Rate for any carpentry repair; $60/hr for carpenter and $35/hr for
Myself, I think that 50% down is way too much. Something like 10-15% seems
Doing the arithmetic, $3800 per week seem a bit pricey for carpenter's labor
Haven't been involved in dealing with the trades in a very long time--am I
out of touch?
Also, nothing in the proposal about liability (any damage done during the
work), time frame for completion or warranty with respect to what happens if
Are there any key questions that I should ask?
Your comments would be appreciated, especially if I get them before the next
guy shows up.
I would make sure they are insured and that they are going to cover any
property damage. Flat tires from nails, broken eves etc. I would also want
to know whether or not they are stripping the roof? I wouldn't be putting
down 50% until I had materials sitting in my yard, or figure out what the
"Daily" down payment is. In most cases the contractor is covering themselves
by adding a carpenter fee just in case there is roof rot or something else
that needs to be repaired outside of the normal scope. Your quote shouldn't
include an hourly price for actually laying the shingles. When I've done
roofs in the past it's roughly "very rough" $150 - $200 per bundle of
shingles (this includes stripping the roof, tar paper, edging and everything
Just as a side note, having materials delivered and in the yard before
handing over 50% is better but still no real guarantee. The material
could be ordered from a yard on credit and not paid for, leaving the
homeowner in the middle of a nasty dipute if the installer then
disappears. And it does happen.
50 % is not something I would pay unless it is after material is
delevered and work has begun, even so 50% is an uncomfortable number.
You should be able to get an idea and price of wood damage from looking
inside, a T&M leaves the door open. They must have liability and
workers comp you need to verify it with their insurance broker by
calling,not his cert which could be faked and expired. You need a
written warranty and time limit and whatever you need such as plant
damage and cleanup. Get more bids and check refrences. Even going to
your local courthouse to see if any litigation is pending will weed out
crooks. A permit is a good idea as it gives you free ongoing
inspections to find issues. And final payment after final inspection
only . Get names of roofers from neighbors.
Not too encouraging to me. But if you go with the lowest bid or
lowest down payment, you will likely be sorely disappointed.
You should have been looking at your neighbors getting their new
roofs for the last couple of years and latched onto one of those
contractors as the guys you want to do yours.
I've never been a contractor but I have helped with a few roofs for friends
and I am a home owner but a new roof should still be 15 years down the road.
I would never give 50% down! The above advice sounds good to me. Pay the
price of the materials when they are delivered. A contractor shouldn't have
a problem with that since he/she has 30 days to pay the balance on their
credit with the supplier. If they don't have crediot with a supplier, that
should tell you something too.
If you talk to that contractor again, ask him/her if their looking for
help. I'd love to make that kind of money!
shop around.. many contractors sub out the roofing, there's a good chance
this guy will bring in some young guy to do the roof for $25-35 per square &
charge you 4 times that. Roofing is hard work but very simple. Get a few
quotes , check their references (prior customers).. stay away from large
commercial contractors with lots of overhead if you want a good price.
What State are you in? those might be the going rates for California &
unions may control the work. I have done roofing in Colorado, Indiana,
Maine, & New Hampshire & those prices sound outrages to me.
Your expectations and concerns are reasonable. Unfortunately, industry
"standards" in your area will dictate what you can actually expect in
a contract. Small startup companies will generally offer you the best
price; long-term established contractors will offer you more security
in terms of bonding, insurance, and warranty follow-through. A 10, 20
or 30 year warranty from a company which folds up its tents in 3 years
is obviously worthless.
You should seek the lowest deposit possible, but anything below the
prevailing rate in your area will be difficult to negotiate. The 50%
deposit which you mentioned is fairly common. However, I personally
believe that a reasonable deposit should consist of one or two hundred
dollars "good faith deposit" followed by payments for actual expenses
as they are actually accrued (materials and labor expenses at the time
of expenditure). I also prefer a few days after completion before making
the final payment. Otherwise, the purchaser has little clout in
I've had 4 modestly expensive ($1000-$5000 each) exterior improvement
contracts over the past few years and I've been fortunate enough to
get all of them on COD terms. There was no down payment and payment in
full was due immediately upon receipt of the invoice, which was generally
2 days after completion.
But this is a rare negotiation and I'd say that you are doing well if
you can get by on a 25% deposit, 50% due on completion and the remaining
25% due 2 calendar days after completion. This gives you time to "walk
the roof" (when it is cool!) and examine it for spongy areas, exposed
nails, missing caulk, damaged shingles, bad flashing, etc. It also
gives you time to test valleys with a garden hose if you desire before
making that final payment. If you must pay in full upon completion,
then let the contractor know that you want to walk the roof once or
twice during construction and upon completion. Try to walk the roof
along with the crew foreman so that you can discuss possible problems
and also so that you will not be accused of causing any damage to the
Negotiating terms better than the prevailing rate for a deposit will
be difficult but not impossible. A perfect credit rating is one of
your strongest bargaining chip. So is ownership of multiple properties
and/or any other indication that you may represent repeat business in
the near future.
Warranty information should be very clearly spelled out in a contract.
This should include more than just the manufacturer's warranty statement.
Insurance, workman's comp and bonding information should be available
Rookie carpenters in my area make $10-$12 per hour and apprentice
carpenters earn about $16-$20. Standard roofing crew seldom include
anybody that I would rank much higher than apprentice carpenters.
Of course, there is overhead and profit that must be tacked on top of
Generally, carpentry rates should be a factor only if there is structural
damage due to leaks or if you are making major changes to your roof such
as extending your roof lines to create an overhang. Resheathing costs
should be flat-rated and clearly described in the contract as a contingency
item at about $40-$55 total cost per sheet for removal, materials and
installation. Anticipated carpentry work (installing ridge vents, etc.)
should be part of your fixed cost estimate and included in the total
price for the contract.
This is beyond the scope of your initial questions and request for advice,
but you can always consider doing the roofing yourself, especially
if you don't need a tearoff of the current shingles. Basic roofing is
hard work and not rocket science. If you have one or two neighbors who
also need new roofs, then you can form a team and attack one roof per
weekend and probably complete one roof each Saturday. You can even save
a bit on the trip charge for shingle delivery if the houses are close to
one another. For about $50 per house, you can have the shingles delivered
directly onto the roofs. Just worth considering.
When I was in contracting, and it was a roofing job. Terms of contract
would specify $100.00 to bind, 50% down when all materials on job site, and
at the end of the first working day. Balance due upon inspection/sign off
of building department.
Labor rates vary widely depending on region. Just don't get some yehoo in
there charging going rates. Rates in my area are journeyman carpenter
$23.68 per hr., apprentice $14.60, keep in mind this is their direct rate
plus additional costs of workers compensation, social security, and bennies.
Then you have profit for company, plus overhead which includes a ton of line
items such as phone, fuel, shop, trucks, etc.etc. Rates billed T&M was
billed at $75 per hour, and this was 5 years ago. The rate was charged for
any person working, apprentice or journeyman.
Sheet goods would be priced per sheet installed, this is the way to go.
Otherwise, if you do have some yehoo doing the job, you might be paying the
proposed $60 per hour for a carpenter to run and get sheet goods all day.
Additional work should be for unforseen problems such as rotted
rafters/fascia or a problem where a price can't be given straight out like
sheet goods. Even 1"x material can be priced out by the sq.ft.,
are these "carpenters" union or non union? i cant see anybody but a 20 year
vet of carpenters union making 35$/hr. ive been a non union for around 15
years and make around 20$/hr. i would be very scared to let a roofer do any
carpenter work. but then im pretty scared watching most roofers just lay
Who said anything about a carpenter making $35 per hr? Carpenters made
$23.68, 5 years ago here, that's union, and it doesn't matter if you're a 5
yr journeyman or a 20 year, union scale is union scale. Benefits & all the
other trimmings to have one carpenter on the payroll, you figure 40% more,
that's actual cost. If we would've just charged for what they see on their
check, we would've been broke! Companies do have to cover overhead plus
turn a profit, otherwise no one would have any employees.
If a roofer, can't replace sheathing,fascia,rafters, or build a simple
chimney saddle, I wouldn't have them on my roof.
these housing developments that pop up over night pay next to nothing to all
their subs. It's a huge profit margin for the general & everyone else cuts
their own throats to stay alive. Those guys that make $9.00 to $14.00 would
be the ones actually doing all the work. Get over yourself.
yeah that's right.
I am a project manager for an industrial contractor these days.
our rates aren't anywhere near $70.00 /hour & we have a shitload of
overhead, with cranes & manlifts... ect
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